A Showcase of Articles, published here
Apostleship of the Sea (Stella Maris)
Audacious SecretClick here for full article World War 1 was declared on 5 August 1914. On 27 October 1914, disaster befell the Royal Navy. HMS Audacious, a modern "state-of-the-art" super-dreadnought battleship, struck a mine and sank. This embarrassment would have been immense and could have been pivotal to their fortunes only weeks into WW1. It would have been very demoralising to the British public to admit the loss of such a vessel. It remained a secret until the end of the war
Coastguard Lifesaving Carts
Coastguard Lifesaving CartsClick here for full article The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners Royal Benevolent SocietyA rope thrown from the shore was a useful tool, and a pulley system – later known as a ‘breeches buoy’ – could be set up to ferry people to safety. However, a person could only throw a rope a short distance, usually against the wind. By the […]
Concrete ShipsClick here for full article Irish shipyards Warrenpoint – Concrete ships Cretefield During the First world war a shortage of steel developed as replacements were being built for the huge tonnage sunk by submarines. Steel was prioritised for construction of warships. Late in the war the USA envisaged a fleet of concrete ships but few were completed before the war […]
Crescent City – Mexican Silver Dollars
Demeray: Treasure Ship
Demeray: Treasure ShipClick here for full article “The two barren islets are best remembered as the scene of the several shipwrecks. Here in 1819 the Demerary carrying gold bullion was wrecked and sank. One of her passengers, a Scotsman named Hugh Monro Robertson and sixteen members of the crew were washed ashore at Cullenstown and buried in the ancient graveyard in the Cill Park near Cullenstown Castle. Monroe’s is the only tombstone there now as one of the pillars from the memorial over the sailors’ grave was used as a weight on a harrow by a local farmer. To this day it is said that traces of gold dust from the Demerary’s strong room are found on the sand of the Keeraghs”
Diving on the Lusitania
Drevar’s Gold & Wellington Pennies
Dublin Port Diving Bell
Dublin Port Diving BellClick here for full article Engineering by Cormac F. LowthThis article was first published in The International Journal of Diving History, Volume 3, Number 1, July 2010 The restored bell In the nineteenth century, several factors combined, which both facilitated and necessitated the expansion of the Port of Dublin. The seaward approaches to Dublin Port have always been hazardous to […]
Early Irish Free State Naval Activity
Early Irish Free State Naval ActivityClick here for full article Eddie Bourke Dainty The early years of the Irish Free State from January 1922 were a time of turmoil after the war of Independence ceased with the Truce in July 1921. The British army commenced their withdrawal and the Free State Army developed from the Volunteers of the IRA. The seizure of the Four Courts […]
Fethard Lifeboat Disaster.
Francis Beaufort (Wind Scale)
Francis Beaufort (Wind Scale)Click here for full article We are all used to hearing weather forecasts on radio or television predicting ‘Wind Force So-and- So’. How many realise that the inventor of the Wind-Scale was born and brought up in Ireland, and did here some of the scientific experiments which place him among the greatest contributors anywhere at any time to the development of the marine sciences?
From Havana to Skibereen (Piet Hein)
From Havana to Skibereen (Piet Hein)Click here for full article "The bones of the treasure ship Santa Anna Maria lie strewn in forty feet of water on a rocky headland off Reen point in Castlehaven. Her oak keel and planking are largely intact" - read the story from the age of discovery and colonization of kingdoms of the new world.
G2, the coast-watching service and the Battle of the Atlantic
Guardships at Kingstown
Guardships at KingstownClick here for full article GUARD-SHIPS AT KINGSTOWN By Cormac F. Lowth Shortly after the completion of Kingstown Harbour in the early 1820s, it became a convenient and preferred haven for elements of the British Royal Navy. It was a regular port of call for most visiting naval vessels in preference to the main port of Dublin with its sometimes […]
Historical Diving and Salvage in Ireland
Historical Diving and Salvage in IrelandClick here for full article While there were few diving inventors or innovators in Ireland, it is remarkable that many of the early diving pioneers worked around the Irish coast. Local entrepreneurs and salvors were quick to exploit the invention of the helmet in the early 19th century and rapidly took on salvage work on their own account.
HMS A5 (Forgotten Submariners) Lost at Cobh
HMS A5 (Forgotten Submariners) Lost at CobhClick here for full article on 13 February 1905. H M Submarine A5 was in the Haulbowline Naval Base, Queenstown,(now Cobh), Co Cork. There was an explosion while her petrol engine was being refueled. The dead were buried in the Old Church Cemetery. The five graves were neglected and overgrown with moss such that the headstones could not be read. In 1999, Chief Petty Officer Owen O'Keeffe of the Irish Naval Service initiated their restoration
Hobblers – who were they?
Hobblers – who were they?Click here for full article More than seven decades after their dangerous enterprise came to an end Dun Laoghaire families with close links to the sea gathered in late September to honour the hobblers. “The who? ” asked one local teenager when told by a friend that he intended to be present at the dedication in Dun Laoghaire harbour of a compelling monument to the men who years ago guided ships to harbour before the arrival of the Dublin Port pilots.
Ireland’s Mercantile Marine during the Second World War
Ireland’s Mercantile Marine during the Second World WarClick here for full article An earlier version of this article was donated to Wikipedia The Irish Mercantile Marine[lugnote]In Ireland it is the “Mercantile Marine”; in the United Kingdom, it is the “Merchant Navy”; in the USA, it is the “Merchant Marine”.[/lugnote] during World War II continued essential overseas trade during the conflict, a period referred to as “The Long […]
Irish WWII Losses
ISL and Lemass
ISL and LemassClick here for full article This article has been written to give people a sense of conditions in Ireland during the early years of the “Emergency” which existed in Ireland from 1939, and the urgent need for shipping which brought about the formation of Irish Shipping Ltd. In condensing a journal of 200 close typewritten pages much detail can be lost but I have taken great pains to reproduce each commodity named so you will understand where the most want occurred. I have learned great respect for the Minister, his Department, the officials of Irish Shipping, their Officers and Crew many of whom paid the ultimate price, with their lives, so we would have the necessities of life in a very turbulent time for our young Nation and the World. - Joe Ryan, 19th March 2016.
Italian Salvage Ships at the Galley Head
John DeLap – Imperial Russian Navy
John Philip Holland (Submarines)
John Richardson Wigham: lighthouse engineer, inverter and businessman.
John Richardson Wigham: lighthouse engineer, inverter and businessman.Click here for full article A great inventor and businessman. Actually born in Scotland, he was accused of being Irish, which he never denied. When he was 15 years old he left Scotland for Dublin to start his apprenticeship. Despite prejudice he was very successful
Legends of the Lusitania
Legends of the LusitaniaClick here for full article LEGENDS OF THE LUSITANIA The sinking of the Lusitania by a torpedo from U20 off the Old Head of Kinsale on Friday 7 May 1915 was the single greatest shipwreck tragedy in Irish waters. Some 1200 men, women and children died. A warning to intending passengers had been placed beside the sailing notice in the […]
LeinsterClick here for full article U-boats sink the Mail-Boat and Many More in the Irish Channel The Atlantic Gateway Jim Phelan 1941 When ships crossed the channel between Ireland and England during WW1, they were attacked and sunk by German submarines. The loss of ships, Irish or not, with civilians, service men and women, was not only condemned by those […]
Lifeboat Mary Stanford
Limerick School for Radio Officers
Construction Lines of the Tayleur
Construction Lines of the TayleurClick here for full article The Tayleur is known as the first Titanic. Sixty years before the Titanic, this White Star liner, technically the most advanced for her age. was lost on her maiden voyage. The design of "clipper ships" had reached its zenith. Tayleur incorporated innovations of its time. She was built of steel rather than wood (the misaligned compass was a factor in her loss) This article discusses her dimension and construction.
Look-Out-Post 6 Howth Head
Look-Out-Post 6 Howth HeadClick here for full article Firstly I’d like to look at Howth Head LOP in the general context of the Coast Watching Service and talk about what the service was and how the Howth post operated within that structure. Then I’d like to focus on the post in day-to-day operation during a particular period of the Second World War, a period usually ignored by historians of the Battle of the Atlantic.
Lord Cloncurry and the Aid
Loss of Emigrant Ship Exmouth
Loss of Emigrant Ship ExmouthClick here for full article In 1847, During the Great Hunger, the Brig Exmouth left Derry (Londonderry) for Quebec. Rather than sailing west across the Atlantic, a gale blew her east and she was wrecked on the island of Islay, off the coast of Scotland. The passengers were, mainly, small farmers and tradesmen with their families. There were only three survivors. 248 were lost.
Lost to Time and Tide
Lost to Time and TideClick here for full article This article offers no conclusions or answers, and is only designed to record some unusual archaeological features within a beautiful bay, which seem to have been forgotten and their use gone unrecorded. One wonders, just how old they are? Suggestions please.
My experience of being shipwrecked
M.V. Plassy: Rescue
Maritime Art and Dún Laoghaire
Miracle on Galway Bay
Miracle on Galway BayClick here for full article At 03:40am on 15 August 1949 Valentia Radio received a report from the British trawler Stalberg which had been fishing off the Aran Islands in the West of Ireland; “Airplane down in Galway Bay, am searching your area” The subsequent co-ordination of air, sea and land assets resulted in the miraculous rescue of almost all crew and passengers of a Transocean Air lines flight from Rome to Shannon. The drama that unfolded was one of bravery, outstanding skill by the pilots and dogged persistence by the rescuers both at helm and in cockpit.
Morven Disaster. December, 1906.
Moyalla SalvagedClick here for full article The salvage of the valuable cargo of the Moyalla is the tale of triumph of a skilled first time salvor over the might of a large professional salvage company. It is a remarkable story of early scuba diving in Ireland and typical of salvage undertaken in the 1950s. The Moyalla was built in 1927 […]
MV Kerlogue, as exemplar of neutral Irish ships during World War II; attacked by both sides and rescued both sides.
MV Kerlogue, as exemplar of neutral Irish ships during World War II; attacked by both sides and rescued both sides.Click here for full article The Kerlogue is seen as exemplar of neutral Irish ships during World War II. She was very small. She was attacked by both sides and rescued both sides. The Wild Rose of Liverpool was crippled and sinking following an attack on her convoy. Kerlogue, not only saved the crew, but took the much larger Wild Rose in tow, installed her own pumps and saved the ship. Following the sinking of Z72, Kerlogue which was only 43m long rescued 168 Germans. They were interned in the curragh.
One-Legged Sailor stoned the King
One-Legged Sailor stoned the KingClick here for full article Dennis Collins One-Legged Sailor stoned the King by Cormac F Lowth Throughout the year 1832, debates raged in the British Parliament at Westminster on the subject of Reform. Passions were aroused on the subject and there were heated exchanges which were reported in detail in the newspapers of the day. These reports were often accompanied […]
Pirates at Muglins
Pomona, emigrant ship, 389 died
Pomona, emigrant ship, 389 diedClick here for full article it is out pitiful duty to record. The United States ship Pomona , Captain Merrihew with a crew of thirty five men and three hundred and seventy three passengers, principally Irish left Liverpool on Wednesday 27th instant, bound for New York, she struck the Blackwater Bank, at four o’clock a.m. on the following day. all on board , amounting to 389 souls – the crew and passengers making in the aggregate 408, out of whom only twenty three were saved. We have the above melancholy particulars of this dreadful disaster from the active and efficient agent of the Shipwrecked Mariners society
The loss of troopship Rival from history
The loss of troopship Rival from historyClick here for full article The troopship Rival was lost off Connemara. 432 drowned. A forgotten wreck, no folk memory survives, probably because this happened in 1832 shortly before the Famine. The famine was so great a disaster that this disaster, the loss of the Rival, was erased from memory
Robert Gibbings, Underwater Artist
Robert Gibbings, Underwater ArtistClick here for full article Robert Gibbings, An Irish Artist Underwater By Cormac F. LowthFirst published in SUBSEA, the quarterly journal of the Irish Underwater Council, Autumn 2007. Nowadays we tend to take the imagery produced underwater, mostly by digital photography, very much for granted. The advances in technology and the availability of relatively cheap cameras and waterproof housings have […]
Rochdale and Prince of Wales
Rochdale and Prince of WalesClick here for full article These troop ships were lost on their way to the Napoleonic Wars. Over 400 bodies washed up on an urban shore. Allegations that they were trapped below while the crew escaped. This sad incident was an impetus to the construction of Dún Laoghaire Harbour
Roman wrecks of Lake Nemi
Roman wrecks of Lake NemiClick here for full article There is a small lake called Nemi in the Alban Hills, about 30 kilometers southeast of Rome. Between 1927 and 1933, two enormous wooden ships, which once belonged to the Emperor Caligula, and had lain on the bottom of the Lake for over nineteen hundred years, were salvaged in what was perhaps the greatest underwater archaeological recovery ever accomplished.
Saint-MaloClick here for full article by Eric Duhan Once you touch ground in Saint-Malo you are entering a place steeped in history from the very first time when man set foot in Western Europe. In the earlier centuries the visitors first view of the city was from out to sea as the city was surrounded by salt marches. It must […]
Salvage Tradition, Law and Lore
Sibe Gorman & Co
Sibe Gorman & CoClick here for full article From early in the nineteenth century until the present time, the image of a copper and brass diver's helmet or hard-hat has been an easily recognisable icon which most people could associate with what has always been referred to as "deep-sea diving".. This is the story of the company responsible for that image: Sibe Gorman & Co
Simon Bolivar – Liberator of Venezuela
Simon Bolivar – Liberator of VenezuelaClick here for full article One thousand men of the Irish Legion landed on Venezuela's Margarita Island in August 1819, after a 4,500-mile sea voyage from Dublin. These soldiers of fortune, many of them recently demobilized veterans of the Napoleonic Wars, now sought fame and adventure in the armies of South America's Liberator, Simon Bolivar. In the years 1819 and 1820, more than 2,100 Irish soldiers reached Venezuela as members of organized Irish regiments.
Slave Ship Amity (1701)
Slave Ship Amity (1701)Click here for full article The history of slavery is probably as old as that of mankind itself. Hundreds of thousands of slaves built such classical civilisations as Greece, Egypt and Rome. Viking Dublin was a major slave trading port in its heyday. However, for the purposes of this story I will deal only with the transatlantic slave trade whereby from twelve to twenty million African slaves were transported to the Americas over a span of four hundred years.
The eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are described as the golden age of smuggling.
Tayleur Fund Medal Awards
Tayleur | First Titanic | shipwrecked | great loss of life
Tayleur | First Titanic | shipwrecked | great loss of lifeClick here for full article The sailing ship Tayleur was lost at Lambay just north of Dublin on 21 January 1854. Of the 650 aboard only 290 survived, merely three of the hundred women survived and only three of fifty children reached shore. Known as the "First Titanic"
The Argentine Republic Emigration Scheme
Asian Adventures of the Bandon River Ships: "Hope" and "Thomas".
The Boyd Disaster
The Boyd DisasterClick here for full article February 1861 will be remembered not only for the loss of a great many ships around Dublin Bay but also for the death of a heroic man, who, with some of his companions, attempted to save the lives of some members of shipwrecked crews in Kingstown. This was Captain John McNeil Boyd of the guard-ship H. M. S. AJAX.
The East India Company at Dundaniel
The East India Company at DundanielClick here for full article Paddy O'Sullivan For more on this theme read: The Asian Adventures of the Bandon River Ships: "Hope" and "Thomas". PREFACE In attempting to give an account of the East India Company at Dundaniel and especially their iron works, it has been necessary, in the absence of information, to study other Irish and English iron smelters […]
The First World War at sea off West Cork
The First World War at sea off West CorkClick here for full article The ferocity of the First World War evokes names like the Somme, Verdun, Paschendale and Mons and maybe Jutland or Coronel. It may therefore be a surprise to realise that the First World War equivalent of the battle of the Atlantic was fought vigorously of the Coast of West Cork. That such a significant front is all but forgotten is no surprise because the Irish rarely turned their eyes seaward except to judge the weather for agriculture.
The Flanders Flotilla and U-Boat Alley
The Flanders Flotilla and U-Boat AlleyClick here for full article The repeated claims that America declared against Germany during WW1 because her citizens and ships had been attacked by German U-boats is not accurate. Though the U-boats were restrained as a result of American diplomatic protests, America did not enter the war at that time and when they did, it was for different reasons. This has not been the first nor the last time that war was pursued for reasons that were not stated. This type of media management has of course reached heights of a totally new sophistication today.
The Guinness Fleets
The Guinness FleetsClick here for full article The Guinness brewing concern had substantial maritime resources to support distribution of the famous beer. In addition the family spent a lot of their leisure on a range of fabulous pleasure craft. Initially the reach of the brewing concern expanded from 1790 thanks to the commencement of the Irish canal system. Barge transport enabled distribution of their beer from Dublin and import of malt from all parts of the country.
The Man in the Tank
The Man of War Head: A Mystery Solved.
The Mystery of the Titanic
The sinking of Arandora Star
The sinking of Arandora StarClick here for full article The torpedoing of the Blue Star Line’s 15,000-ton luxury liner Arandora Star off Bloody Foreland, Donegal on 2 July 1940 is one of the hidden histories of Second World War Ireland. Though the sinking was reported in the local press in Mayo and Donegal, where it is still remembered, it never made it into the national consciousness due to wartime censorship.
The Vasa, 50 years later
The Vasa, 50 years laterClick here for full article 2011 is the fiftieth anniversary of the successful raising of the almost intact early seventeenth- century Swedish warship Vasa from the mud at the bottom of Stockholm Harbour. It represents one of the greatest maritime archaeological recoveries ever carried out. After the salvage of the ship in 1961, it was conserved and restored and can be seen in a specially built museum where it has attracted millions of visitors over the years.
The wanderer at Kingstown and John Masefield
The Wreck of the Bolivar
The Wreck of the BolivarClick here for full article The Country had been in the grip of freezing conditions for the entire month of February 1947 with snowstorms, and accompanying snowdrifts, which blanketed the countryside and made all movement extremely difficult. Power failures were frequent and added to the general misery. It was against this background that the M.V.BOLIVAR was making her way across the Irish Sea on the morning of Tuesday, March 4th, bound for Dublin Port with a badly needed cargo of grain and other essential items. Like many another fine ship before her, although Dublin Bay was in sight, the BOLIVAR would never reach that port and would leave her bones in the sands of that treacherous graveyard of ships that spans the entrance to Dublin Bay waiting to ensnare the unwary, the Kish Bank.
Tram and schooner collide
Tram and schooner collideClick here for full article Few stories have been mentioned so often with so much confusion than the tale of the collision between a sailing ship and a tram at Ringsend bridge. There have been several errors repeated and one discovery has been that there were two similar incidents at the same place. Earlier researchers have not had the advantage of the computer searchable versions of the digitised newspapers and this has helped resolve mysteries and tales such as this. The story gained interest when the visitor’s centre was constructed near the site of the accident. The story defied researchers who had hoped that a photo of the incident might be available for display.
Fate of U-20, the U-boat which sank Lusitania
U-35 in Dingle during WW2
The barges which ferried barrels of Guinness on the River Liffey
The barges which ferried barrels of Guinness on the River LiffeyClick here for full article Midsummer’s Day 1961 saw the last commercial passage of a Guinness barge on the River Liffey. According to Al Byrne in his most entertaining book “Guinness Times - My Days in the World’s Most Famous Brewery” it was 6 p.m. when the 80-foot long by 17-foot-one inch-wide barge, Castleknock, sailed from the Custom House with a load of empties and slowly made its funereal way up river to the jetty at St. James’s Gate.